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Tale of Two Cities, A

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Tale of Two Cities, A

Published 1946

How the atomic bomb destroyed the people and cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Run time 12:02
Producer U.S. War Department
Sponsor U.S. War Department
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Ken Smith sez: The first atomic bomb film. Footage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a Jesuit priest survivor describing the Hiroshima blast, and the classic "atomic footprints in the sands of time" bridge shadow art (courtesy of an anonymous Nagasaki citizen).

atom bomb Japan Hiroshima Nagasaki World War II nuclear death


Reviewer: Stuka1944 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 11, 2015
Subject: Axis of Gods Will
I am not a huge fan of any historical content concerning the U.S.A especially in the last 100 years.

Time and Time again "sufficient justification"is given to the yanks involvement and deployment into military conflicts far abroad. Claiming to be the protectors of peace,harmony and freedom.
Both World Wars has been none other than an economic and satanist decision of involvement.
Provocation in WW2 unknown to the U.S. population at the times encouraging support of their people.
This sadistic criminal element hiding behind mainstream media lies and deception has distorted the history books.
How ever abominable and cowardice a government it is, time shows all lies.

Now the brutality the Japanese people suffered from Harry "Ku Klux Klan" Truman (since 1922) dropping these devastating weapons on civilians is in my opinion the worst modern day atrocity known to mankind.
God Bless
Reviewer: JSBejma - - September 28, 2012
Subject: DaveInMaine
Heres another word for you to look up since big boy sounding words are your thing:

Reviewer: samking73 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 5, 2012
Subject: just wrong!
While I admit it was terrible that this kind of weapon had to be used, I would also remind those on here who are critical of the atom bombs use that even the most conservative estimates put U.S. casualties at one million service men if we would have had to invade Japan. Not to mention the fact that even elderly men, women and children in Japan had been training to fight to the death, Iwo Jima and Okinawa proved they were willing. Even after the second A-Bomb, there were a large amount of the Japanes population who were willing to fight on.
It can be said that the use of these weapons saved millions of civilian Japanese lives.
Reviewer: daveinmaine22 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 30, 2012
Subject: Powerful testimony
Given the source and time (War Department, shortly after the war) one could hardly expect a balanced account, but a powerful testimony to the destructive power of atomic weapons. While it clearly shows the US military's point of view on the bombings it is not flagrant propaganda.

For a good example of war era, ignorant and jingoistic propaganda seen the JayKay review below
Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2012
Subject: Japan Got What It Deserved
The libtards that run the schools in this country and sesame street, too have done their do. Yes.. up IS down and down IS up, eh?

What happened to these two cities was 100% the fault of Hirohito and his cronies - crazy fanatics who intended to drag this war out ad infinitum - even if the whole population of Japan starved and all the available men had suicided themselves.

Frankly the US was sick and tired of Americans getting killed and mamed just to satisfy this screwball's insatiable appetite for war - especially since by this time it was clear they'd get nothing out of it. So you are darn right! We had a new toy and we used it expediently.

Stubborn fanatics never win and unfortunately their subjects wind up as collateral damage. Its not a perfect world. So, sometimes one has to treat it as such.

Good film that demonstrates the effect of these bombs and tells why they were dropped where they were dropped. Flyers warning of these bombs were dropped well in advance. But dying other than a natural death is an honorable thing on that side of the "gettin out of Dodge" wasnt a real high priority.
Reviewer: joeyneutrino - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 6, 2010
Subject: Take at least a minute to consider the implications
Spuzz says:

"The film shows destruction after destruction, and the viewer is quick to recognize the narrator appears to be salivating in all this destruction and appears not willing to bother mentioning anything about the uh deaths that incurred?"

The bombings occurred on August 6th & 9th; the surrender wasn't signed until 24 days later on September 2nd. The Strategic Bombing Survey didn't commence until sometime in October. So how many rotting corpses do you suppose the Japanese allowed to just linger in situ for a period of roughly two months before photography took place for this film? Naturally the dead don't appear on screen.

But the dead aren't ignored. The shadows of blasted pedestrians are clearly pointed out. The site of the Hiroshima military garrison is shown destroyed, and its complement of 20,000 dead personnel are plainly mentioned.

Of course you'd have to be stupid not to know that at least tens of thousands of people were killed outright by the bombs. The bombs were dropped on CITIES.
Reviewer: vixenseabee - favoritefavorite - March 21, 2010
Subject: Well looking at the history...
While I hate death and devastation. Pain and suffering of any people/animals lets always try to understand things as they were.
As was said on the film 21 days after the testing of the first atom bomb in a city. The atom bomb was put to use.
They really had no idea of what was really going to happen. Even after the test on Bikini Island they had no idea what they had got themselves into. Sure scientist said be careful this is going to do really bad things, we all know that that never does any good.
No one ever believes doom sayers...
Reviewer: Alphared - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 26, 2010
Subject: I find it amazing!!!
The number of persons who review these films with the 'Go USA' attitude. As if the USA could never, ever, ever do anything that could be even slightly wrong.

Take this wonderful film footage for example, the results of our use of nuclear weapons against another nation. A nation, I might add, that was already beaten and isolated from being a further threat. A nation, I might also add, that had attempted to sue for peace not once but several times in 1945. Truman wouldn't have it, he had a shiny new toy and he meant to use it!!!

The fact that this film is a much edited for public consumption edition is no surprise. That is true of any 'fact' you think you know about the end of the Pacific war (Japan continued desire to fight, the need for nuclear strikes, the results of those strikes, etc.)

Historical research is not difficult, especially with the internet around to help you. So, please stop drinking the kool-aid, remove those blinders and do some.
Reviewer: SWorld - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 29, 2008
Subject: War is Hell
No matter who starts or ends a war, everyone suffers - no one wins. It's clear from the previous posts not very many people have read or understood Asian or world history. Take a bit of time and read "The Opium Wars: the Addiction of One Nation and the Corruption of Another" by W. Travis Hanes II and Frank Sanello. Then indulge in reading the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" at
Reviewer: JorjCurieux - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 27, 2007
Subject: We are so sure that USA is invincible!
These are the times of arrogance! We can see how far this arrogance has taken us in Afghanistan and Iraq (even with the use of depleted nuclear weapons). The "Islamic-fundamentalists" have an interesting "weapon": the ideology of Islam. Let's see who wins this game of dominance: Secular-Capitalism via it's "benevolent" economic and military power, or the materially poorly equipped Islamic "fundamentalists". The concern should be to understand the true agendas of the two sides which unfortunately have been depicted in the mass media always in favor of Secular-Capitalism (i.e. USA). If I were to make an _educated_ bet with my last dollar, I would bet that Islam will be victorious in this battle of ideologies. Why? Islam has a track record of about 1400 years, most of which has been positive as far as benevolence matters. If the Muslims strictly adhere to the original principles of Islam as preached/practised by its Prophet Muhammad, then the Muslims will be victorious and the fate of Secular-Capitalism will be no different than that of Communism. As for the fate of USA; it will be similar to that of Rome.
Reviewer: Piotr Kuras - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 24, 2007
Subject: The good, the bad and the ugly...
If you started the war you're definitly a "bad guy". If you defend yourself, you've got to kill the attacker - and killing someone is never considered "good". If your friend or just a neighbour was invaded and you don't help him (you don't want to kill anybody) you will have to watch him/them suffer and die, knowing that you could help. Being neutral is rarely considered as being "bad" but not helping someone in distress is usually is.
After all the only good guys in a war are those who were attacked and got killed.
Ugly but true. :-(
Reviewer: chinanolan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 29, 2006
Subject: This Is State Craft
This film accurately reflects realpolitik as it has existed in American foreign policy since Rutherford B. Hayes and the desire for expansion in the world.

America has made a conscious effort from the late 19th century to take a leading, if not lead role among the world's nations. At this time, the field was England, France, Germany, Russia, China and Japan. In the second rank was Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. In the ensuing 120 or so years, the only one left of the original lead pack is China. The surprise is the rise of a loose Islamic Shia/Sufi fundementalis that usually only bedeviled France, Italy, Spain, England, Germany as expressed by the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

The United States is committed by long policy and tradition growing out of its European ancestors to climb the mountain of hegemony. To do so requires the development of weapons such as pistols, gunpowder, rifled arms and cannon. Nuclear weapons development is just the latest cannon. This trend will continue with charged particle weapons and directed energy weapons which will be the new weapons of mass destruction.

It is the only way, the United States and the United States of Europe can successfully counter China, then India and a growing Pan-Islamic Federation. The U.S. led hegemony will attempt to keep any two of these three forces from joining while it develops the CPW and DEW weapons it needs to wage offensive war (the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emption) or defensive war (traditional U.S. Democratic-Republican foreign policy.)

Get used to it.
Reviewer: Clara Bow - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 9, 2006
Subject: Transcription
Here is a complete transcription of "A Tale of Two Cities":
Reviewer: Citizen Helder - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 9, 2006
Subject: Review the movie, not people's reactions or sentiments
This is propaganda, pure and simple, to justify Nuclear Testing. Read accurate history books and accounts of the WWII period, including those of scientists recruited work on the project. There one discovers where the debate began for 'the necessity' to bomb Japan.

No one is ever truly a 'Good Guy' in a war.

As a longtime user of, this is not the place to ridicule other reviewers comments about the films. This is a powerful service to let people see films such as this and other public domain films and understand media.
Reviewer: Flags - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 30, 2006
Subject: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Excellent film about what happenned with the A-bomb drop on two cities in Japan.One could say a fitting retribution for all the pain, suffering and death the Japanese visited upon countless innocent civilians in Asia-Pacific. One gets tired of these America bashers who look upon this and blame America for defending herself in the best way possible. If it wasn't for this and other sacrifices our soldiers made on the battle field, there would be no United States, no Jewish population, and no freedom to bash this nation.So, remember, this is what happens to dictators who think they can rule the world.
Reviewer: dpi - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 10, 2006
Subject: Fascinating
Propaganda? Yes.

Mass Murder?

It's stunning that anyone could think, even for a moment, that the US were "bad guys" in WWII.

A stunning, breathtaking, world-class, jaw-dropping, ignorant and stupid mind "thinks" something like that.

I suppose the Japanese were "good guys" for Nanking, Bataan, chemical and biological experiments (Pingfan), forced labor (aka "slavery"), mass rape, Mukden, Palawan, etc., etc., etc.

Yeah, the US were the "bad guys."

Reviewer: OrchidHyena - favorite - May 20, 2006
Subject: Frightening and Sad
You know it's an awful thing to know that Americas government is capable of mass murder and worse it tried to instill into it's public with films like this that hey it's okay!Makes you question just who the bad guys in ww2 were?
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 3, 2005
Subject: (Not the dickens version)
This fun doublespeak (well, not really) film all about the great destructiveness of the Atom Bomb, focuses on what power the atom bomb possesses, in regards to the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The film stresses how it was dentonated in the air ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂto further spread itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs radioactive destruction!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ The film shows destruction after destruction, and the viewer is quick to recognize the narrator appears to be salivating in all this destruction and appears not willing to bother mentioning anything about the uhÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ deaths that incurred? As a matter of fact, the only mention of any people being killed is made briefly by a priest in a press conference. This film, along with A Challenge To Democracy are classics in the War propaganda machine, and is a MUST SEE on this site!
Reviewer: Chesley-Donavan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 23, 2004
Subject: A chilling, jingoistic document.
It is interesting that the title credit states this film was for American service personnel only, since I am given to understand that it was shown in American public cinemas. I have also heard there were two versions of this film made: this one, for domestic audiences; and another, twice as long, for foreign audiences.

Although this film is "objective" on its face, there is a very clear undercurrent of "don't mess with us or we'll do this to you" and a definite Jingoistic, chest-thuming, OOO-RAH! flavor to the narration. It could have been much worse, of course, but one still believes in hindsight that any of this sort of crowing is inappropriate, even for domestic audiences. I note other reviewers' remarks about the blasts being exploded at higher altitudes to dissipate the radiation and other self-justifying comments in the narration, such as the remark about "expos[ing] the shadow war factories" in residential areas of Nagasaki. This sounds to me rather like "we found the weapons of mass destruction -- see, we HAD to do this." Well, okay, if you say so.

There is ongoing debate about the veracity of the Government's claim that the bombings ended the war quickly, thereby saving American and Japanese lives that would have been lost if the war continued. Perhaps this film adds an additional nuance of motivation for the bombings that was not publicly stated.

This is a scary movie.
Reviewer: Melkor - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 28, 2003
Subject: No death?
The footage was carefully edited to show no dead. The survaces were bleached by the light. All that remains are the shadows and the names. I would like to see the footage thats Classified be shown to the public.
Reviewer: JimT - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2003
Subject: A Tale of spin control
In addition to the interesting shots of destruction at and near ground zero, this film hints at the undercurrent of guilt that was the american aftermath of the first use of atomic weapons. Twice in the film it is stated that the bombs were exploded at sufficient altitude that most of the fallout would be dispersed in the stratosphere. Then an interviewee is asked about the rumors of deadly rays in the area, to which he replies that he believes they are just rumors, since he and others were in the blast area soon afterward, and had experienced no ill effects. For me, this had a greater impact than the shadows of people left on the ground.
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